Travel Trailer Shopping Tips & Maintenance Tips That Will Extend Its Lifespan

In the sweet olden days of camping, families used tents for shelter whenever they went for a holiday in the woods. However, today things have changed with the introduction of travel trailers (aka bumper pull campers, tow behind campers) and 5th wheelers on the road. It's the new way of enjoying outdoors. Furthermore, it seems to be the new way in which retired couples travel across the U.S, enjoying their solid years of marriage while living fulltime in them. So definitely everybody would like to own one of these.

There are two ways in which you can purchase travel trailers; either you can do business with an individual who owns a travel trailer for sale, or you can visit a business that specializes in these units. But it is generally advised that you shop from these businesses because of the advantage of warranties they give on such purchases.

Again, if you've been actively looking for a travel trailer, you must have realized that there are several brands in the market. And therefore, you want to find the best brand that will fit both your budget and style. These don't come easy because you have to do a little bit of research work. But this guide has simplified it for you.

Here is a list of some travel trailer manufacturers:

Along with some brand names:

  • Aerolite
  • Airstream
  • Aljo Joey
  • Aluma-Lite
  • Catalina
  • Cedar Creek
  • Cherokee
  • Fuzion
  • Gazelle
  • Grey Wolf
  • Gulf Breeze
  • Laredo
  • Layton
  • Marathon
  • True North
  • Vantage
  • Vengenance
  • Villa
  • Visa
  • Wagoneer

You must have a few things in mind when looking for the ultimate travel trailer, whether new or used. Among those things are the size, and of course, the cost of the unit. Also keep in mind that annual maintenance will need to be done and some replacement travel trailer parts will need to be purchased.

(a) The towing vehicle

This is the vehicle that shall tow the trailer. At the very least, you should make sure that the vehicle you're going to use for this purpose supports the weight of the travel trailer. You cannot use a vehicle that is not able to pull the travel trailer as it will shorten the lifespan of the car, plus it could pose a great risk for you.

(b) Bathroom

This has come by a surprise, but it's a must that you be concerned with your travel trailer bathroom. You should inspect the frame and door of the shower through grabbing and seeing if you can use it without problems. When you find that it doesn't shake, it should be able to contain the shaking of the trailer during road-trips.

If it's a tub-shower, you want to ensure all the enclosures are water-tight. Basically, you have to inspect everything in the bathroom, and also note down the size.

(c) The Interior

Ensure you're comfortable with the interior design of the travel trailer, the wallfloor and the upholstery as well. If you happen to like the price but you don't like the interior, you can always carry out some remodeling tasks.

(d) Power converter

Most electronics inside a travel trailer or recreational vehicles operate on 12V power. However, some campsite lines carry up to 110V of power. You'll need to ensure your recreational vehicle has a good power converter which is able to step down the voltage to 12V.

(e) Brake lights

Failed brake lights are a safety issue on the road. However, this is mostly an issue with used travel trailers. You always want to indicate to the vehicle behind you that you're slowing down or turning, otherwise they might just ram on you.

Structural things you can look for:

Even new travel trailers can have structural flaws sometimes. Therefore, before making a purchase, you'll be required to walk inside and physically inspect any leak stains on the ceiling, soft spots on the floor, or even the entry door.

Again, most side walls are made of fiberglass, so ensure you inspect signs of peeling on the fiberglass material. These are very costly to repair, so you want to catch these problems before money can exchange hands.

However, with the aluminum sidings, you should check for signs of physical damage or loose panels.

Otherwise, things like tires, wheels and axle shouldn't bother you if it's a new travel trailer. But if you're going for a used one instead, make sure the owner assures you that the tires and wheels are less than 5 years old. Don't bank on what you see because wheels that are more than 5 years old will make you replace them very soon.

A travel trailer offers good space which is enough to accommodate your family. The style of this trailers offers more room in the living area. Entertainment items (television, tablet, kindle or nook, laptop, blu ray player, streaming media player, etc) can be purchased for the passengers to help keep them occupied. Side-outs have also been strategically positioned to add more space. They come in sizes that range from 9'' all the way to 45''. Because they offer unbelievable space on the road, you should generally expect to pay quite a price for them. So just before you consider financing, make sure you've considered all the factors highlighted in this guide.

RVs require the same standard of maintenance that a car, SUV or truck needs. Your RV might have wheels, but it’s more than just a vehicle. That’s because it can have a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room, an office and many other facilities.

With the cost of basic models now hitting the 6-figure mark, recreational vehicles can now cost more than homes. This calls for preventive and maintenance tasks that extend the life of the unit and the components inside. This should also include winterizing the unit so it doesn’t have to succumb to the effects of snow.

1) Take care of the roof

Your travel trailer roof is more prone to damages caused by the sun and other environmental factors. As a result, the roof can develop problems gradually since you take quite some time to climb up there.

If you’re storing your RV for the winter season, or when you’re simply parking it temporarily, you should do so under a traditional motorhome cover.

These covers can be installed in your premises and customized to meet your needs. If possible, the roof should be cleaned regularly so as to avoid the dreaded black streaks which usually appear on the motorhome side.

2) Run the generator

Failure to test your generator on a daily basis will cause you to replace it years early, before its lifespan is over yet.

Keep in mind that gasoline has a shelf life of 30 days. So if your generator was stored with some fuel in it for more than 30 days, the fuel could break down and destroy the internal components of your generator.

You have to keep gas flowing on a regular basis. This could be achieved by turning it on for about 2 hours every month on 50% load. This should keep it in good shape.

3) Take care of your windowsdoors

If your stripping and seals are faulty, chances are that rain will leak into your travel trailer.

Seals will degrade with time, thus allowing water to drip in, and this will encourage moisture. Therefore, you must check your door and window seals every 2 months to ensure a snug fit and absence of deterioration.

4) Open Vents

When your recreational vehicle is sitting idle during summer, temperatures can accumulate up to 130 degrees. And if this is the case, the furniture and other materials will start to wear down, even though they are tough.

Again, it costs nothing to regularly open the vents to allow free circulation of air. You should only keep the vents closed when it is raining. So this is something you should check on a regular basis.

5) Side-out rails must be lubricated

You see, the sound made by a squeaky pop-out can be like a nail on a chalkboard. This sound can easily turn into a nuisance. It’s a sign that the side-out rails need to be lubricated.

You don’t want to destroy these components with rust or corrosion. In fact, experts say you must apply lubricant to the rails at least twice a year. Lubricant sprays specifically meant to lubricate rails are available for $15.

6) Mechanical issues

Even though your recreational vehicle may sit there idling, it’s always a good idea to occasionally hire a professional recreational vehicle mechanic to look into it. But you must schedule this just before the spring lush so the mechanic has you in their diary.

7) Heating & air conditioning

The comfort of your trip is determined by how well these components are working. In fact, your heater plays a crucial role in heating water, coffee, tea and many other liquids. But on the other hand, your AC unit works to maintain a comfy temperature inside the RV

As for the AC unit, replace the filters once a year so it can work in tip-top condition.

8) Holding tanks

You need to sanitize the water supply system, as well as clean and flush the holding tanks during winter. Make sure you inspect and replace all hoses where necessary. It helps keep things in good condition, thus saving you the extra cost you’d have incurred in repairs.

9) Your tires

Tires are a crucial part of any journey. They make contact with the road, and so they must be in good condition in order for the recreational vehicle occupants to be safe. Check them to ensure the pressure is correct. You don’t want to load your travel trailer only to discover a flat-out.

10) Use anti-freeze agents

Winter has been known to wreck havoc on water components inside stationary recreational vehicles. So to be on the safe side, all water tanks inside the RV must be emptied when approaching the winter season. Then you must also use an anti-freeze agent to prevent further freezing of these components.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Are Travel Trailers Safe To Live In?

A: Some people have actually described living in a travel trailer as 'living their dreams’. There is actually not much difference between living in a travel trailer and living in a stationery home. The only difference exists in the words travel and stationery. However, just like in your home or even your car, you are the responsible for ensuring your own safety when living in a travel trailer lies in you. For instance, it is important that you conduct a thorough research about the safety and security of an area before adventure-traveling to a new destination.

The amount of luggage or stuff you carry, how you drive you RV, and how well-equipped you are, are all important factors as far as your safety and security are concerned. Having your travel trailer insured is also highly important. Most importantly, always keep your travel trailer in good condition and buy your Travel Trailer Parts from reputed sources in order to avoid inconveniences that could lead to accidents or safety threats on the road.

Q: Who Makes The Lightest Travel Trailer?

A: When you are looking forward to a small and short road trip with less baggage to carry along, a light travel trailer is what you need. This is an RV in which you pack a few necessities and you are all good to go. The Happier Camper HC1 has been rated by reviews as the lightest Travel Trailer available. It comes with a number of convenient features, including stylish panoramic windows, wonderful electric and lighting resources as well as engraved hinged doors and much more. It is made by Happier Camper.

Q: Where Can Travel Trailer Parts Be Bought From?

A: In the bid to keep your travel trailer in top shape and form, you will find yourself in the need to purchase certain types of parts or accessories specific for your mobile home or road trip vehicle. Whether or not you get quality products will be dependent on where you buy the parts. Low-quality or non-genuine parts may have a negative safety or convenience impact on your travel trailer.

There are specialized companies for option travel trailer and RV parts such as TV antennas, electric appliances, electronics, and replacement parts such as doors, windows, as well as furniture. Most of these companies, of course, have websites online from where you can order your supplies for shipping. A good example is RV Parts Nation. Some parts are also available on online retail stores like Amazon, eBay, and WalMart. It can be more advisable to buy from a reputed specialist instead.

Q: What Travel Trailer Is The Best Buy?

A: There are many types of travel trailers in terms of brand, model, size, and design. In most cases, most people choose their recreational vehicles guided by these factors, along with price and budget. Brand and model are important in as far as strength and convenience are concerned. Size is equally essential since everyone wants a motor home they can fit in comfortably, especially for the full-timers. On the other hand, the design should meet your tastes and preferences.

The truth is that there is no such thing as a specific best buy when it comes to travel trailers. It all depends on your needs, convenience, comfort, and preferences. However, the most popular wide range travel trailers range in size from 100-inch to 102-inches. To get the best buy, choose the one that fits you most in terms of these factors. You can also look from sites like RVT.com, RV Trader Online, and RVSearch.com and compare to find a deal that suits your budget. Airstream, Coachmen, Dutchmen Forest River Gulfstream, and Heartland are some of the most popular and best travel trailer brands reviewed online.

Q: Who Sells Travel Trailer Insurance?

A: Just like with cars and homes, an RV requires insurance, especially if you live full time in the mobile home. Most people fall victims to circumstances, either of loss or legal matters, just because they do not know where to look for travel trailer insurance. When you purchase a travel trailer or even rent one, the first thing should be to check whether or not it is insured and determine where to look for RV/motor home insurance policy.

In the US, there are many providers of this type of insurance. Just like it is with companies in other industries travel trailer insurance firms may differ in terms of their offers, deals, costs, and prices. However, some of the popular sellers of this type of insurance include Blue Sky, Esurance, Foremost, National general, Progressive, RV America, and Safeco.

Q: Which Company Offers The Best RV Insurance?

A: There are many insurance policy providers for recreational vehicles, each with their own merits and demerits depending on the terms, conditions, and costs. The best company for RV insurance will, however, depend on the type and model of your RV, your country or state you come from, the amount of coverage sought, whether or not there are other vehicles insured, and among others, your driving history.

To get the best rates on RV insurance, it is important that you consider comparing a few companies in your area before settling for one. National General, RV America, Progressive, Foremost, and Explorer RV are some examples of the most reputable firms you can consider looking if you are an American citizen.

Q: Where to Buy Travel Trailer Furniture?

A: for the best of adventure and thrill in your travel trailer, every journey or stop needs to feel like home. Whether you are on the move, camping for the night, sleeping, or stopping for some site seeing, the environment needs to feel comfortable and convenient. One of the ways to ensure that is to equip your travel trailer and RV with the appropriate furniture in the various parts. This means getting the right beds, chairs, tables, sofas, couches, recliners, and so on.

There are many sources for travel trailer furniture online, but you definitely need to get your parts and supplies from a trusted and reputable dealer, if at all you are going to get the best price and value. Specialized sites such as RV Furniture Center, RV Share, and Camping World can be some of your best stops. Some travel trailer furniture pieces and RV parts are also available on online retails stores like Walmart and Amazon. Before you choose your source, it is important to do some comparisons to determine the best deals and offers.